The VMS Blog

Meeting Sun Ra

Back in the early 1970s, Bill was living in Boston and beginning to experiment with visual music.

Why the OVC?

Music is an act of discovery, more than a craft. Yes, you have to learn how to hit all of the notes, play all of the chords …

Logic and making visual music

Our goal in creating visual music is to share a world beyond the logical, rational world that our eyes usually show us. Yet there is a logic, a structure, in the process of creating the art.

Mastering the moving target

Back in the 1970s, computers were clunky and the only way to make visual music was with a towering, looming machine. Flash forward to the age of super powerful computers

The perseverance in creativity

There are lots of theories out there about creativity from Skinner’s theory that creative people are no more original than a chicken laying an egg…

Dr. Seuss and Visual Music

And then Bill read The Cat in the Hat and saw this crazy representation of the world…

Are alternative realities politically incorrect?

In this context, I feel compelled to add a disclaimer: when we encourage people to check out an alternative reality, we are not suggesting that the science of climate change is a personal choice or that the past can be mutated for the convenience of those in power.

Creating colors in a shadow world

When you work in a range too dark for the cones in the eyes to perceive, you can create images that the viewer half sees and half imagines. This is designing in the scotopic range…

Inventing colors in VR

In environments where an artist has total control over the optics, colors can be created which do not exist in normal environments. Blues can be created that are more blue

The ephemeral nature of color in VR

Our eyes' retinal chemicals are constantly adjusting to visual input. This means that even if the physical colors on the screen stay the same …

Seeing color in a HMD

Light does not have color—and our perception of color is relative. You might not notice this in a brightly lit room but put on a HMD

Going Solo

Bill was performing with Sun Ra’s Arkestra at the SoundScapes Performance Center on West 55th street in Manhattan. The band was doing breakdowns.

Stopping Time

It was the early 1980s, maybe 1981. Bill had a fellowship type position…

Screen size and design in VR

Turns out the first TV screens were really small—and the original movie screens weren’t that much better if you were in the back row. VR environments are anything but small and

Using Peripheral Vision in VR

One of the most fun design considerations for VR is how to work with peripheral vision. Most two dimensional designs focus on

Am I moving? How to create a sense of movement in VR

If all that exists in your visual world are three balls and you move straight forward between them, your brain doesn’t have enough information to decide if you are moving or if the balls are moving.

Motion Without Sickness in Virtual Reality

Anyone who has put on a head mounted display like the Oculus has probably gotten motion sickness at one point or another. Smart designing can…

Creating Visual Music in 4D

In our visual music environments, reality itself is constantly changing throughout time.

The Language of Visual Music

We are communicating through feelings and sensations…

Playing Live

Our goal is not to construct an image but to play it - to give visual musicians instantaneous control over the output.

Hearing With Your Eyes

Visual music is a sensory experience, not a logical experience. Imagine listening to Beethoven and thinking how the French horns sound like...

Analogies between audio and visual music

What are the corollaries between visual and audio music? What follows aren’t rules but ideas of how to create visual music…

Visual Music is Not Music Visualization

Imagine a percussion piece. All drums, nothing else. Then…